Reports of hate crimes in Los Angeles County declined 6 percent in 2006, reports the Los Angeles Times. There were 594 hate crimes last year, the second-fewest since 1990. The district attorney filed charges in 129 of the incidents. Blacks, gays, Mexicans and other Latinos, and Jews were the most common victims. There were two hate-motivated killings and 13 attempted murders last year, compared with no murders and six such attempts in 2005.
State law defines hate crimes as criminal acts in which bias, hatred or prejudice toward the victim’s real or perceived race, religion, sexual orientation or other characteristic is a major factor. Of racially motivated hate crimes, 59% were against blacks, 22% against Latinos, 7% against Asians, 4% against whites and 4% against Armenians. Latino-targeted hate crimes dropped by a quarter after nearly doubling in 2005, yet anti-immigrant slurs increased, the report said. Tension between African Americans and Latinos continues to spark violence; the majority of hate crimes against both groups had suspects of the other race.